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Targeting Poachers And Wildlife Traffickers


Rhinos at the Thornybush Game Reserve in South Africa.

On February 11th, the Obama Administration issued the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

Wildlife trafficking poses an increasingly serious threat to international security, with links to sophisticated transnational organized crime syndicates and some terrorist networks. Today, the illegal killing and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife parts and products is a global multibillion-dollar business, involving mass slaughter on a nearly industrial scale by a well-organized network of poachers, traffickers and facilitators.


That is why, on February 11th, the Obama Administration issued the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, strengthening domestic and global enforcement of wildlife trade laws while working with international partners to combat the global poaching trade.

“Today, because of poaching, species like elephants and rhinoceroses face the risk of significant decline or even extinction. But it does not have to be that way,” said President Barack Obama in a written statement.”
“Addressing these challenges requires a U.S. strategy that is proactive, recognizes immediate imperatives, and balances our strengths and expertise to address challenges comprehensively over the long term.”

The United States will employ a three-pronged effort to combat wildlife trafficking. First, it will strengthen enforcement. Second, it will work to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife. And finally, it will endeavor to build international cooperation, commitment, and public-private partnerships.

As part of this effort, the White House also announced a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory. All commercial imports and exports of ivory products will be prohibited, including antiques, with the exception of a few narrowly prescribed items, such as antiques over 100 years old.

“This is a global challenge requiring global solutions,” wrote President Obama. “So we will work with foreign governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to maximize our impacts together. Our efforts will aim to strengthen enforcement, reduce demand, and increase cooperation to address these challenges.

“The entire world has a stake in protecting the world’s iconic animals, and the United States is strongly committed to meeting its obligation to help preserve the Earth’s natural beauty for future generations.”
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